By CSR Asia Centre
Professional Masters programme in CSR offered at AIT, please contact the CSR Asia Centre at AIT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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It identifies the most pressing environmental, social and governance issues emerging in Thailand over the next decade. Thai experts shared their opinions on what they see as the top emerging issues and what will be expected of businesses.
The findings of the study show that environmental issues are a huge concern for businesses and their stakeholders in Thailand. Environmental issues comprised half of the top 10 emerging issues, with climate change topping the list overall. There is a clear demand that businesses take this more seriously and governments are beginning to pass regulation that requires the private sector to help mitigate climate change by reducing emissions. In many countries, businesses are also likely to face stricter regulation on adopting cleaner technologies and becoming more energy efficient.
Even immediate action can however no longer avert some degree of climate variability caused by past emissions already built up in the atmosphere, and severe weather conditions such as floods and droughts will have increasing impacts in Thailand. Businesses will need to extend risk management approaches and business continuity planning to include climate change. In times of crisis, businesses are also going to be expected to play a part in helping the most vulnerable. Thus, they need to be aware of and prepared to respond to risks for the communities around them, and not only for their own operations.
Energy efficiency and renewable energy are also growing concerns among Thai stakeholders. Thai experts see the need for behavioral change that will be required to save energy. As some of the biggest energy consumers, businesses will have to play their part in promoting a low carbon society. Accomplishing this will require big changes – and investments - in business processes and in technology. But improving energy efficiency can also reduce long-term energy costs.
Not surprisingly, pollution is also a top concern and experts interviewed say that stakeholders will increasingly demand that companies address this. Following the Map Ta Put crisis, it is now quite clear that if companies want to preserve their license to operate, they need to keep pollution under control and protect human health. Stricter implementation of environmental regulations is likely. With regulation expected to become more stringent, the business case for proactive approaches will become increasingly clear as reactive responses tend to me significantly more costly, both in terms of reputational as well as monetary terms.
Water shortages and water contamination also ranked high among emerging issues. Businesses will have to develop strategies to manage water use effectively and address water scarcity in the future. Experts see a strong connection between the increasing awareness of environmental issues amongst consumers and new market opportunities for environmentally friendly products. Companies now have a great opportunity to build brand reputation by greening their operations and expanding market shares by innovation of environmentally friendly products, processes and technologies.
Thai companies will be expected to incorporate environmental concerns into their core business strategy. This will mean further developing current corporate social responsibility (CSR) practices. Companies will need to move beyond philanthropy and start focusing on running more environmentally efficient businesses. To do this, companies will need to develop CSR strategies that not only help mitigate environmental problems such as pollution, climate change and water shortages, but also demonstrate positive contributions to social and environmental challenges. Stakeholders internationally are growing more demanding, and businesses that want to remain competitive will have to get better at responding to stakeholder concerns.
The Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR™) is an environment, social and governance ESG benchmarking tool developed by Responsible Research and CSR Asia that examines the publicly available information of the leading listed companies in ten Asian countries. In the ASR™, Thai companies scored high on governance issues but poorly on environmental disclosure. Compared to other Asian countries, improvements around environmental performance could certainly be made. But, while many large companies are working hard already to improve their environmental disclosure, and weave environmental concerns into the core of their business strategies, it’s not easy for smaller companies. Companies often struggle to find personnel with the right professional skills to deliver on this increasingly important aspect of business competitiveness.
At CSR Asia, companies often tell us that they face a “capacity gap”. Their staff needs new skills to drive their CSR into core business operations. If companies want to meet stakeholder expectations for incorporating environmental performance into their business strategies, they will need to invest in training their staff on how to do this. They will not want to miss out on market opportunities to introduce green products. But staff needs to understand the challenges in order to develop products and processes that address them.
In order to help respond to this capacity gap, CSR Asia has partnered with the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), to offer an executive style professional Master’s degree in CSR at AIT’s School of Management. The programme will be delivered in 8 modules, with the first one focusing on Environmental Management and Climate Change and being delivered in early September 2011. Participants will gain precisely the skills they need to plan environmental management strategies for their own organizations. They will learn to develop strategies for addressing issues like climate change, energy use, water management and pollution and how improving performance on these issues can improve efficiency and stakeholder relations, and add value to their brands.
Additional modules in the Masters program, and that will be delivered at least once per year cover the following:
Value Chain Risk Management
Community Investment and Development
Development, Poverty Alleviation and Social Business
Corporate Governance, Fair Operating Practices and Government Relations
Business and Human Rights
Human Resource Management, Diversity and Inclusion
Business Strategy and Social Responsibility
For more information about the Professional Masters programme in CSR offered at AIT, please contact the CSR Asia Center at AIT at email@example.com